Despite promised cleaning, federal food inspectors have found meat debris, slime, mould and other unsanitary conditions at the Maple Leaf Foods plant in Toronto.
A Canadian Food Inspection Agency report was obtained by the Canadian Press this month detailing the infractions found at the plant last year, the same one that was at the forefront of the listeriosis outbreak and which was supposed to have been disinfected entirely.
Over 200 new health and safety operating procedures were implemented after the incident, mostly strict cleanliness guidelines, but some of the violations in the October 2008 report include meat and food debris on container bins, knife holders and the floor, rust on meat processing equipment, slime on a meat-trimming table and mould on calking, cardboard and skids within populated areas of the plant.
Mould in the workplace can present several inherent dangers for workers. Typical mold exposure can pose risks for those with asthma, allergies, lung conditions or immunodeficiencies. Mould can be found almost anywhere and severe reactions can involve fever and shortness of breath.
If mold is found, regardless of the species of mould, the Centre for Disease Control recommends removing it if it can be seen or smelled due to the amount present. Mould can also affect the look, smell, and structural integrity of some materials.
Areas where it is most likely to grow are spaces prone to water damage and increased moisture such as leaking pipes or places where condensation forms. If mould is present, reducing worker exposure is key. The area(s) should be cleaned and disinfected as well as the moisture source eliminated. For large areas, an indoor air quality specialist or mould abatement contractor should be contacted.
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